DWD: Nearly 500K unemployment applications received ‘since onset of COVID-19;’ $384M+ benefits paid

Unemployment -- Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development

MADISON — Officials with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development on Monday, May 4 revealed nearly a half-million unemployment applications have been received since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, with more than $384 million in benefits paid. This, as of the week of April 26.

“With almost a half million applications received since the onset of COVID-19, we continue to navigate uncharted waters,” said DWD Secretary Caleb Frostman in a news release. “DWD is adding hundreds of new staff, multiple outside vendors, and working overtime to process and analyze the claims to help as many Wisconsinites as fast as possible.”

Below is unemployment data released by the DWD Monday:

TOTAL NUMBER: Through Saturday, May 2 FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT EACH PROGRAM, VISIT:
Unemployment Applications Received* 498,297 https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/apply/
Weekly Claims Received* 1,497,813 https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/weeklyclaim/
Weekly Claims Paid 966,089  
Total Benefits Paid $384,318,519  
Weekly Benefits Paid $160,856,274  
PUA Applications Received 44,687 https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/uiben/pua/
UI Calls Received-Week of April 26 4,712,684  
*Preliminary counts updated daily at: https://dwd.wisconsin.gov/covid19/public/ui-stats.htm

DWD officials noted in a news release Unemployment Insurance is a joint state-federal program that provides benefits to eligible workers. Each state administers a separate UI program, but all states must follow the same guidelines established by federal law. Any answer given on a claim raising a question regarding a person’s eligibility must be fully investigated before benefits may be paid.

Regular Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits: If you’re out of work through no fault of your own, and you’ve worked for a covered employer (an employer who pays UI tax) in the last 18 months, you may be eligible for and should apply for regular UI benefits. Regular UI is available for up to 26 weeks (dependent upon an individual’s specific situation). 

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA): If you are not eligible for regular UI, you may be eligible for PUA. This is a temporary federal program that provides up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not eligible for regular UI such as:   

  • Individuals who are self-employed
  • Certain independent contractors
  • Individuals with limited recent work history
  • Other workers not covered by regular UI
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